Construction is a large and complex worldwide industry constantly shaped by new information technologies, advanced materials, environmental policies, regulations and changing building methods. Most importantly, though, construction is shaped by people. Sustaining a strong industry requires attracting and valuing a skilled, career-driven, high quality workforce... who also like to build! How is the construction industry attracting the skilled workforce for future growth market demands? Do prospective candidates see construction as a viable career choice?

As many of you may be aware, the Construction Career Collaborative (C3) began in late 2009 when a small group of leaders met to discuss the ominous signs of a looming craft worker shortage. From that meeting, a vision was crafted that not only addressed the future workforce needs of our industry, but also included a plan that engaged all participants in the construction process, beginning with the construction owner.

Since that meeting, a lot has been done, and much is going on, but the real work is just beginning. A board of directors was formed. A mission and principles were adopted. Bylaws were written. Committees of volunteers, who enthusiastically endorsed the mission and principles of C3, were created and many great ideas were generated and developed. Beta projects were identified and then built.    Read more » about Generating a Return on Investment

I remember the first time I crossed a strike picket line. It was at a construction site for a Holly Sugar Beet processing plant in Hereford, Texas. The electricians union who wanted higher pay for their workers called the strike. The picket line was comprised of my neighbors who I carpooled the 90 miles to the construction site with most days. Once they struck, they refused to give me a ride and were suddenly calling me a scab even though I worked in the engineer’s office on the drafting board. Serious stuff for them. Scary for me. Shut down the site for a week. That was then, this is now.

Today, members of the United Steel Workers (USW) are on a five-week strike at several of the major refineries in the country while the negotiators work to replace the “three year collective bargaining agreement that expired at the beginning of February”. The strike action is over what the unions call unfair labor practices (ULP) claiming that the industry has neglected the “health and safety” of their workers.   Read more » about Steelworkers Still on Strike

Walmart made waves recently with the announcement that the largest retailer in the world will boost pay for its employees and do more to create career paths within the company for those employees.

It seems the same discussion that construction executives have been having for years about how to create a sustainable workforce is now being hashed out in Walmart’s boardroom as well.

In an open letter, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the most immediate change will be raises for employees. Beyond that, he also said there will be chances for those workers to earn more based on their performance.    Read more » about World’s Largest Retailer Makes Changes Aimed at a Sustainable Workforce; Construction is Ahead of the Game

We hear that question a lot on the Internet these days, but my question refers to the picture of a class of students who attend the Career Pathways Institute in Grand Island, Nebraska finishing concrete for a townhouse project for Ryan Bartels Construction Company.

The story chronicles the way that one of those students, Caleb Wardyn, a senior at Central Catholic high school found a part-time job with Bartels. It also talks about how Bartels, a staunch supporter of the CPI construction pathway, brought Caleb and 11 other students who are in the construction pathway at CPI to work on a project where they get “hands-on” experience while they are still in school.    Read more » about What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Crane Institute of America has long focused on providing technical training for equipment operators and riggers, but as American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards have evolved, placing greater emphasis on the responsibilities of other crew members, Crane Institute has expanded its available training programs.

“There is an increasing need for formal training for other crew members, such as Assembly/Disassembly Directors, Lift Directors, Master Riggers, and Site Supervisors,” said Jim Headley, President of Crane Institute.

The newest training program to join Crane Institute’s Management Training Curriculum is the four-day Lift Director/Lift Planner course.  The first open-enrollment classes will be held March 9-12 at Crane Institute’s headquarters in Sanford, Florida.   Read more » about Journeyman to Directors, Crane Institute of America Offers New Crane and Rigging Training Courses for all Skill Levels

Earlier this month I had a chance to speak with Miguel Lopez, Roofing and Sheet Metal Superintendent at Chamberlin Roofing and Waterproofing.  I wanted to learn about his craft and how he learned about the trade.

Before he came to Chamberlin, Miguel worked installing track for a railroad company, but did not see a future for himself in that line of work.  There were no opportunities for advancement, so when the work at the railroad company began to slow down, Miguel looked for something different.  Miguel’s brother-in-law worked at Chamberlin and told Miguel about the opportunities there.

At Chamberlin, Miguel started out as a “laborer” where his duties included moving trash, setting out and covering material, moving materials, and readying equipment.  After a couple of years, he was given the opportunity to run a crew of four laborers who tackled smaller projects such as jobs which were only 1500 square feet.  He said, “Whenever I got [the jobs] done, Chamberlin saw that I could do it because I liked it, and they gave me the opportunity to grow more.”   Read more » about Spotlight on Roofing: Learning Something New [VIDEO]

The following article is authored by the Co-Chairs of the National Construction Forum.

A skilled craft shortage currently exists that will impact the extensive planned industrial expansions along the Gulf Coast.

Why is it important to you as an owner?

  1. This shortage will impact cost, schedule and doability of your capital expansions.
  2. Even if you have no capital expansions planned, other planned capital expansions will draw people from your maintenance and small cap programs, as well as create significant wage rate increases.
   Read more » about A Business Case for Owners Supporting Craft Training

Each year, NCCER and Build Your Future (BYF) are proud to celebrate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month in February.  CTE Month celebrates the extraordinary achievements and contributions of CTE programs across America, which prepare students for careers in today's economy.

The Construction Labor Market Analyzer forecasts that more than 2 million new craft professionals will be needed in the construction industry by 2018.  The skilled trades continue to be the hardest jobs to fill in the U.S., resulting in plenty of career opportunities for CTE graduates.

CTE offers programs such as welding, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and carpentry to prepare students for high-paying, in-demand construction careers at both the high school level and in postsecondary programs.   Read more » about The Future of the Construction Industry is in Career and Technical Education